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Nick Petreleley on Linux Taking Market Share From Windows 198

These are LinuxWorld columnist Nick Petreley's answers to your questions about the (somewhat controversial) Evans Data Survey he helped analyze that shows Linux is taking more market share from Windows than from Unix.

Nick:

Before I answer the questions, allow me to correct some misperceptions that I have seen with respect to my former article in LinuxWorld on this topic.

The myth that is debunked by the Evans Data survey is that Linux is taking more market share away from Unix than from Windows. The data is conclusive on this matter with respect to Linux developers from a wide variety of software development environments. More developers who focus primarily on Linux used to focus primarily on Windows than Unix. So there is a much greater shift from Windows to Linux among developers than from Unix to Linux. The attempts to explain it away that I've seen are usually based on one or more errors:

1. Most people still use Windows as a client OS.

Of course this is true, but it has nothing to do with the myth. Unix has practically no market share at all on the client, so it is mystifying that anyone would think that the myth is based on client market share. Why would anyone try to perpetuate a myth that Linux is taking away more market share from Unix than Windows on the client if there's virtually no Unix client market share to divert to Linux? It should be self-evident that the myth relates primarily (if not exclusively) to servers. As Linux gains client market share, it will be from Windows, and there will be no myth to debunk.

2. Evans surveyed only those companies that are involved in Linux development.

First, the purpose of the Evans report was to uncover trends, needs, desires, opinions, and decisions among developers who use Linux at least part of the time. One does not ask developers who never use Linux for this information. The fact that the data debunked the popular myth that Linux takes market share primarily from Unix is a fascinating side-benefit, but it was not the purpose of the survey.

However, the same logic on who to ask still applies to this side-conclusion. Here is the question answered by the data: Among those developers who now focus primarily on Linux, which did more of them have as their primary focus beforehand -- Windows or Unix? The only way to get an answer to this question is:

1. You must ask the question of people who now have Linux as their primary development host or target.

2. You must ask the question of that subset of Linux developers who switched from some other platform as their primary platform to Linux as their primary host or target.

This is precisely what Evans did. Evans asked those who switched to Linux as their primary host or target what platform they switched from. Does anyone honestly believe it makes more sense to ask those who use Windows or Unix as their primary platform what they used to use before they switched to Linux as their primary platform?

The only question is, were these developers honest? The fact that 50% of these developers still focus primarily on Windows as of this year should tell you that we're not talking about a survey of Linux fanatics. That isn't the only thing that supports their candor, however. These developers were brutally honest in their answers regarding Linux tools, distributions, etc. All of the answers reflected reality, not zealous Linux advocacy. With the permission of Evans, I may address some of these other results in a future article.

Now, on to the questions:

1) So that 40% number...
by Anonymous Coward

...the one where 40% of developers are writing mainly to Linux. Where does that stat come from, and what does "developers" mean? It sounds really nice, but if it were true I as a Linux user would expect to see a lot more apps. Does it come from Sourceforge numbers? Does it come from a poll at a website; maybe a Slashdot, Kuro5hin or Newsforge poll? Is it of *all* developers, or of *paid* developers, or of developers of open-source developers or in-house developers or developers of commercial software? Does it include platform-agnostic developers (ie. Java/ perl/ ASP/ PHP/ .NET)? If so, which side does it put them on? Also, what is the error margin of the poll?

I know a bit about statistics, and more about Linux, and something smells fishy. Linux is good, so I figure the numbers are bad.

Nick:

Evans Data sent out a survey to about 400 developers who are either known to have some involvement in Linux development, or work for companies that are involved in Linux development. The degree of involvement is not the critical issue, as is obvious from the results, since even now more of the developers they surveyed focus primarily on Windows than Linux. The developer responses indicate that ratio will reverse as of next year, but that was obviously unknown until they returned the survey, so it wasn't a qualifying factor. The survey included developers from all walks of life, but as far as I know, all of them are paid developers. There were many who work in very small companies (generally VARs and consultants), some who work at ISVs producing commercial software, some who work in IT departments and write custom applications for internal use, etc. The report is very detailed as to how this breaks down, and it even shows what kinds of decisions VARs tend to make as opposed to the kinds of decisions developers at ISVs tend to make.

Here's what you may have misunderstood. The 40% number does *not* mean that 40% of developers worldwide are focusing primarily on Linux, nor does Evans represent it that way. It means 40% of the developers Evans surveyed, and those developers were pre-selected by their use of Linux. This makes perfect sense, because the study was meant to discover information about the decisions, needs, and desires of developers who use Linux, whether they use it occasionally or all the time.

You may have been confused by some of my own pet theories as to why Linux market share growth is overlooked, but I offered that information as supplemental to the Evans data. One of my pet theories was confirmed by the data. But that was never intended as "proof" that Linux has 40% market share among *all* developers because that was not the conclusion of the survey. The 40% figure was part of several figures that refute the myth that Linux takes more share away from Unix than Windows.

The survey did not ask questions about languages such as PHP, Python and Perl, but the data suggests that a very large portion of developers use PHP, Perl or Python and other languages for web development since a very large number checked "other" in areas where those languages would apply. As far as I know, Evans plans to be specific about these languages and platforms in the next survey.

By the way, .Net is not platform-agnostic, but Mono and DotGNU promise to provide some of the .Net framework. About half the developers surveyed said they will adopt Mono or DotGNU if they are successful. Only a small portion of developers object to the idea of Mono and DotGNU enough to refuse to use it, so the vast majority do not have a strong philosophical objection to .Net (yet another confirmation that we're not talking about zealots). It is revealing, however, that only about 17% of the developers currently use .Net, and almost twice that amount use Sun ONE. This suggests they simply do not want to use .Net itself, or that it is not compelling enough to justify the price tag or to stick with Windows. There are other possible explanations, and perhaps Evans will uncover them in the next survey.

2) Differences
by The Bungi

What is the difference between you and the people who are demonized and flamed to no end because they quote seemingly unreliable and baseless statistics to support the idea that Windows is doing well in the market place? That Windows is better than Linux as a server OS?

It seems to me that for the past four or five years I've been seeing "statistics" and "studies" to the tune of "Linux is enterprise-ready" and "Linux will overtake the desktop" and "Linux rulez". What's different today?

Nick:

If you're talking about being demonized, there is no difference. To one extent or another, I have been demonized for practically everything I write. I've learned to live with it, though, since it is an occupational hazard.

Statistics are reliable as long as you collect them properly. To the best of my knowledge, these were collected properly. What is generally unreliable - in those cases where statistics are rendered unreliable - is the analysis of those statistics. Whether or not the analysis is intentionally flawed or simply poorly done is debatable, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes it is flawed simply because the analyst speculated but failed to communicate that the conclusions were based on spculation.

As far as this particular report is concerned, I did my best to analyze the statistics based on what could be gleaned from the actual data, and whenever I applied speculation, I made every effort to communicate that it was speculation.

Survey results are often dubbed "unreliable" or "baseless" because the results are either designed to confirm the conclusions of the company that commissions the survey, or because the results are misrepresented, or both. I could easily misrepresent the Evans Data if it were my intent to deceive. For example, the survey showed that the respondents have experienced virtually no security breaches or viruses on Linux (the number of experiences is so small as to be statistically insignificant). But each year, fewer respondents say the open source model is inherently more secure, despite the fact that their own experience contradicts this perception. If I wanted to spread fear about open source, I could quote what the respondents "feel" without revealing the hard data regarding what they actually experience. I'm afraid that's what some analysts or research companies may do, which is why they get a deservedly bad reputation. This study does not deserve that kind of reputation. As for what "rulez", my statement in my recent column that Linux is a better server platform than Windows is my own, although it is confirmed by several case studies. I would be surprised if these case studies haven't already appeared on slashdot.

3) IDC credibility
by Animats

IDC is always publishing those studies about future market share, but where are the studies comparing past IDC predictions with the actuals?

We can't even get solid Internet traffic statistics. Look at the mess Worldcom's inflated traffic numbers caused.

Nick:

First, anyone who has read my articles for long would know that I am one of the world's most severe critics of research organizations and their analysts. I am still very suspicious of most research reports and the analysts who help produce them. Exceptions include Dan Kuznetsky (IDC), who is quite good, and Esther Schindler (Evans), who is also extremely good. There are others, of course, but these come immediately to mind.

I agree that someone should keep a record of research company predictions and hold them accountable for their errors. I maintain that this is a good idea, and I have suggested it before.

Having said that, allow me to correct your perceptions on a few issues. First, the report is from Evans Data, not IDC. Second, while the data does make predictions, the primary issue I addressed was not a prediction, it concerned data regarding existing Linux developers. Of those developers who currently focus primarily on Linux, more used to focus primarily on Windows than Unix. If you want to add the prediction to that, here it is: Of ALL these developers (including those we surveyed who still focus primarily on Windows), more plan to focus primarily on Linux next year than Windows. As it is, more focus primarily on Windows today.

Before I correct one last possible misperception, it may help you to understand how the process worked.

They gave me the survey to review. I commented on the questions as best I could, given that this was my first project of this type and I wasn't sure what they were most interested in discovering from the data. (Remember that these reports have a dual-purpose. They exist to serve clients of Evans Data, and they also provide interesting results for the general public.) They made almost all of my suggested changes (some would have made the survey too long, which is a perfectly reasonable concern, so we condensed some questions to compensate).

By the way, do not read too much into that part about serving clients of Evans Data. Yes, I suspect that in some cases companies commission reports in order to get the results they want. That is one reason why I am so critical of research groups and their reports. But neither the survey nor the way Evans handled the process ever hinted at this kind of manipulation. As far as I can tell, the commercial purpose of the survey had nothing to do with whether or not developers are moving from Windows to Linux. It had more to do with what existing Linux developers want and need.

Anyway, some time later, I received the results, along with many standard cross-tabulations of the data. I had just over a week to produce the report, which was extremely difficult, but Evans was very responsive and cooperative. Sometimes the data suggested a conclusion or trend but didn't confirm it. In some cases, I was able to confirm my suspicions by requesting a cross-tabulation of data to isolate who was saying what. In other cases, the best I could say was something like, "the data suggests X, but there could be other explanations." But Evans ALWAYS responded to my questions about possible errors, ALWAYS produced the cross-tabulations I requested without even asking why, and NEVER suggested that I change my conclusions or approach to analysis. Evans even responded to requests for cross-tabulations when the answer I was looking to understand had little or nothing to do with its target audience.

In only one case did Evans ever suggest a trend I didn't see for myself, and they were very careful to say that I could toss out that conclusion if I didn't agree that the data suggested this trend. They pointed out that despite the increase in developers who make Linux their primary focus, there was also a big increase in those who develop on multiple platforms. That change was obviously valid, because the hard data confirmed it. The problem is that I was unable to explain from the data why this apparent paradox existed. We would have had to ask more questions to qualify it. Personally, I think the answer is obvious, but because we asked no questions to prove my analysis, I simply suggested it as a possibility in the report (along with at least one other possibility). In a strong economy, companies dedicate developers to projects full-time, and that produces more people who spend all their time on a single platform. A down economy tends to force companies to reduce the number of programmers who are dedicated to a project full time. More people work on several projects at once, some of which include platforms other than their primary platform, whether that is Windows, Linux, or something else.

Now, since I haven't seen the final version of the report, it is entirely possible that Evans edited what I finally submitted into something abominable. But given the way they handled the entire process from start to finish, I can't even begin to imagine why this would be the case. As far as any of their dealings with me and the data were concerned, I never even perceived a hint of integrity problems.

4) Linux Usage Growth
by Dios

Ok, this statement was thrown in my face a while back.

Its easy to go from 1 to 2 users or 2 to 4 and claim a fantastic growth rate, but what constitutes that magic number of users before its truly a desktop operating system being used daily by enough of a mass to catch the attention of large software development firms that will create/port applications to linux?

Is growth rate in terms of number of desktops conquered (eg growth rate of 1.5 million desktops a year) a better measuring stick than doubled/tripled/whatever the number of users in X years. What, in your opinion, is a good measuring tool in determining the growth rate/acceptance of linux in the market?

Nick:

I don't know of any good measure of growth rates. Your example is perfectly valid. One of the most amusing examples of error in this regard has to do with spin. I know of a magazine that quoted endlessly (years ago) that OS/2 was a dead-end operating system because it only had 2,000 native applications. Later, the same magazine published a story about how Windows NT was gaining good momentum, as evidenced by its 1,200 native applications.

And, as I said in my article, even accurate numbers about existing market share (not growth) can be deceiving. If one company uses 50 Linux servers to do the same job as 100 Windows servers used by another company, Windows appears to be the more popular platform because it has a greater market share. Yet the only reason Windows has a greater market share is because it takes more Windows boxes to do the same amount of work. Whether or not you agree with the assumption that Linux outperforms Windows, hopefully you can see that market share figures do not reflect important information.

5) Dear Nicholas Petreley (Score:5, Funny)
by slashuzer

You might be unaware of this fact, but the words Usage Statistics, IDC, study, etc trigger some deep emotions in the slashdot community.

So can you tell me, Is BSD dying?

Nick:

I have no idea if BSD is dying. I personally believe BSD is an excellent operating system, so I hope it does not die. Again, it was Evans, not IDC. The Evans study didn't ask much about BSD, but what it did ask revealed that the respondents consider it to be one of the most secure operating systems available (particularly OpenBSD).

6) Distros and numbers
by farrellj

Part of the problem in counting the number of Linux desktops/servers/etc. is that anyone can get it from any of a million different places (friends, ftp, subscriptions, etc.), but the industry tends only to count sales. I know for a fact that every CD I have of Linux I have installed it on at least 10 other systems...some are upgrades, others are new users, and still others moving over from another distro.

And this leads to the other problem...what are the *real* usage stats on distros? It's hard to tell. From talking to people, a lot of people use Slackware and Debian for servers, Red Hat, Suse and Mandrake for desktops...but how can we really count who is using what?

Nick:

This was a survey of developers who use Linux at least some of the time, so it had nothing to do with sales, friends, etc.

As I said in my LinuxWorld article, Red Hat was by far the most popular distribution. Debian was the most popular non-commercial distribution. You wouldn't find many surprises in the rest of the list. The survey didn't really identify what people use the most on servers vs. desktops. But they use Red Hat the most, period.

Interestingly, most respondents think the issue of commercial vs. non-commercial is irrelevant, although only by a slim margin over those who prefer a commercial version. Even more interesting was the dichotomy between those who prefer commercial distributions and those who prefer non-commercial. They seem to disagree the most about what constitutes the strength of a commercial or non-commercial distribution. One gets the impression they have not tried a distribution from the "other side".

7) Linux announcements from big companies...
by L0stb0Y

Do you see announcements from heavy hitters (like Dell, IBM, etc) helping sway more 'desktop users' to switching to Linux?

Nick:

This is only my opinion, not something from the report, but yes, I believe those announcements do help a lot. If anything from the survey supports this conclusion, it is that the respondents favor IBM by far over other hardware companies, and IBM has been the most vocal about Linux. On the other hand, Dell was highly rated, too, and there has been a lot of controversy over Dell support for Linux.

8) My question
by damu

Do you think statistics are nothing more of a marketing tool, and should the open source community use these numbers (usually squeued) to get some leverage when promoting open source alternatives to the higher ups?

Nick:

Statistics are what you make them. After that, assuming you tried to get the most objective and realistic statistics, their true value vs. manipulative value still depends on how you use the results.

As for what you make them, you can ask the same question hundreds of ways. Some forms of a question will get you the answer you "want". Other forms of the same question are more likely to get you an honest, objective and informative answer. There are techniques such as "distractors", etc., that can help, if honesty is what you want.

The problem is that honesty is not always what one wants. And even when the survey turns up honest answers, it is easy to distort the results if that is what you want to accomplish.

What the open source community does with statistics is up to the open source community and the conscience of the individuals within it. Personally, my religious convictions are the motivating force behind everything I do, so I am committed to the truth. If I stray from the truth, it is because I'm far from perfect, whether that imperfection surfaces as an imperfect attitude or simply a careless mistake. But I can't tell the open source community what should drive their motives. Each one should probaly act according to his own conscience.

9) At what point will Linux reach critical mass?
by molarmass192

At what level of penetration (% install base share) will Linux reach critical mass on the desktop? It's much less relevant from a server perspective since it appears that Linux already has reached critical mass on that front. Should we assume that when Linux supplants Apple as the number two platform (although this has already happened from what I have seen, nobody is stating it yet in the mass media), that we will see a proliferation of commercial Linux offerings and (more importantly) better OEM hardware support?

Nick:

I have no idea what point would be considered critical mass. I'm not even sure it is a good idea to measure critical mass in terms of installed base. This was a good measurement for commercial products, but Linux has an appeal that transcends commercial software. It is open source and free, and those two elements make it difficult if not impossible for any commercial software company to compete.

The Evans Data survey showed that developers choose Linux first because it is stable, second because it is open source, and third because of the low cost. Commercial software can be made stable, but it is not likely that some companies will ever open their source code (make it truly open, that is, not just let people have a supervised peek at it now and then). And, as the folks at what used to be Netscape know only too well, it is very difficult to compete with "free as in beer", no matter how much propaganda you spout about total cost of ownership. (Of course, bundling was an issue there, too, but the point about free is still hard to deny.)

Speaking strictly for myself, I would say the desktop is a unique market that will transform radically over the next several years. Personally, I think digital rights management (DRM), Palladium (or whatever it's called this week), and the evolution of media centers and game consoles pose a much more serious threat to Linux on the desktop than market share or OEM bundling.

10) Gathering data.
by CHK6

How is the data gathered and is the same techniques used for other OSes in comparison? Also do you consider coporate desktops or personal desktops? I ask this because many employees would rather use Linux as their primary desktop, but management strong arms Windows.

Nick:

See above for more details on how the data was gathered. The survey had little to do with desktop vs. server Linux use. It was focused on development and the needs of developers. Evans asked whether they were developing more for desktop or server applications. As it turns out, most of the developers work on server-side applications. Based on the data, a good deal of the development is dedicated to web-based applications. There is also significant and growing activity and interest in using Linux on 64-bit architectures and embedded systems.

I know of many people who are strong-armed into using Windows. But since these companies are making money by developing on Linux and for Linux, I would guess that it is doubtful they are being strong-armed to use Windows.

------------

Bio: Nicholas Petreley is a consultant and freelance writer based in Asheville, NC. He was founding editor of LinuxWorld, and hosts the non-profit weblog VarLinux.org. He can be reached at nicholas@petreley.com.

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Nick Petreleley on Linux Taking Market Share From Windows

Comments Filter:
  • Forgot to ask... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:06PM (#5583899)
    How much market share is Linux taking from Mac OS X or is Mac OS X taking market share from Linux? It once was a candy coated GUI with pansy kernel but now, Mac OS X is fire-breathing UNIX workstation w/ a candy coated GUI.

    Then again, is it technically possible to reduce Apple's market share?
    • Pretty pointless question. Both of them have such miniscule marketshare that it's impossible to get useful statistics.

      Also bear in mind that the question is slanted in favour of MacOS - it's possible to measure sales of Macs, whereas nobody knows how many people "switch" from Windows to Linux (of course, people rarely go cold turkey over night).

  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:06PM (#5583900) Homepage Journal
    If the article and the slashdot writeup [slashdot.org] had been written like the following, we would have never had to ask for so much clarification (added peices in bold):

    Nicholas Petreley has a great article over at LinuxWorld explaining why it seems that Windows has such a high market share when 40% of developers
    who use Linux are focusing primarily on Linux. From the summary: "There are dozens of reasons why people have underestimated how quickly Linux has been grabbing Windows' market share. Windows starts out with a false boost and maintains its illusory market share even as it gets replaced by Linux. In 2004, don't be surprised when Linux overtakes Windows to become the main focus for developers who sometimes use Linux."
    • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:14PM (#5583962) Homepage Journal
      Other startling facts:

      -People who have cigarettes in their pocket often are smokers. Conclusion: Putting cigarettes in your pocket causes you to start smoking.

      -People with heavy pockets often have lots of spare change. Conclusion: Heavy pockets are especially desirable for spare change, which will often cluster together in a heavy mass of metal.

      -There is a startling correlation between owning a Ferrari and having lots of money. Conclusion: Buying a Ferrari causes one to suddenly come into wealth.
    • Oh come on, if they did that it wouldn't have been nearly as interesting, would it? How else are they gonna crank up the banner ad numbers without hot topics like this???
    • by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:27PM (#5584032) Homepage
      Exactly :) That's one of the main problems with statistics - if you aren't careful in the way you state your results, you can say or imply something completely different from what the numbers reveal.

      In other news, 79.5% of statistics are made up. And Slashdot is comprised of 72% Windows users.
    • That's still interesting, though your criticism is *excellent* -- currently, most of them focus primarily on Windows. Next year, assuming the survey is accurate, most of them focus primarily on Linux.

      We can probably say something along the lines of "people that start using Linux tend to move towards focusing primarily on Linux".

      That's a good sign, since Linux tends to creep into companies, rather than enter in a massive changeover. Lots of people are interested in adding Linux support to their products
    • ...it seems that Windows has such a high market share when 40% of developers who use Linux are focusing primarily on Linux.

      Wait a minute. This is still incorrect.

      Petreley was very precise in his wording. The conclusion was that 40% of developers currently using Linux used to use Windows.

      It does not at all address overall market share! The question being answered was, "is Linux taking more market share, in an absolute sense, from Windows or from Unix?" If there were more people migrating to Window

  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:07PM (#5583905)

    Nobody here would believe the results of a study put together by Steve Ballmer casting Windows in a positive light, so why should anyone believe the results put together by one of the main rabidly anti-Windows voices which casts Windows in a negative light? Not too objective, there...

    • by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:27PM (#5584035) Homepage Journal
      Actually, if you look back to the questions, I specifically asked this (basically asking if he was overly biased).

      Of course it was neither asked nor answered. Take that into consideration and come to your own conclusions.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Read the fricken post! Petreley didn't do the study!!! He is publicizing it because he is biased towards Linux, for sure, but he didn't personally undertake this study, some company named "Evans Data" did. I, for one, would like to know who paid for the study, because more often than not that is what can best be used to determine to what extent the study is flawed.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It looks to me that Petreley went to great lengths to evaluate the results accurately. Don't just dismiss him out-of-hand without evaluating his methodology.
    • by manyoso ( 260664 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:35PM (#5584094) Homepage
      Hey, why do you have to 'believe' anyone? Why don't you look at the evidence provided by both and consider the relevant context and decide for yourself what you think. Why must you have the truth fed to you and why do you refuse to think and make up your own mind?

      Ballmer and Petreley are offering facts/opinions/conclusions and you have been given a brain to question and analyze these assertions. Use them.

      Abandoning your inate ability to question and look at the world through your own eyes in favor of blindly 'trusting' whomever based on past precedent is not such a good strategy for getting through life.

      It is almost certain that Ballmer *sometimes* tells the truth and I'd be very suprised if Petreley hasn't lied at some point to someone or other, so take this into account along with all the _evidence_ you can glean and see for yourself.
    • In what way does this study cast Linux in a positive light? It is a study of Linux users. Given that fact, what on Earth could we object to about this study? If there were a study showing that 100% of developers who only use Windows only develop for Windows... no one here would complain.
      • You are missing the point entirely.

        His point is that people develop for Linux switched from windows.

        In other words Linux is eating into the Windows developer mindshare and that's a significant outcome (if his conclusion is true that is).

      • It is a study of Linux users, but it was not qualified they way you suggest. It is not a survey of Linux only users or developers. If that isn't clear to you, you didn't read any of the interview or other information about this. There certainly could be more questions about whether the survey sample is representative of the class (developers who use Linux sometimes), which is going to be hard to do anyway. I see no reason to doubt that they at least got a good cross section of the class, even if it isn'
        • But isn't there a vested interest in Linux developers to debunk the "myth" that more Linux developers came from Unix than Windows? Isn't this the sort of question that is pretty easy to hedge on?

          Jumping from developing Windows apps to Linux apps without Unix experience is obviously much more difficult than switching from Unix to Linux. Given that fact, I'm going to remain a skeptic until a more scientific study comes to the same conclusion.
          • No, I don't think it would be an easy question to hedge on, and I think most people would respond honestly. He also points out some of the survey questions that show that these are not all Linux zealots, just a bunch of pragmatic developers.

            As far as jumping from Windows to Linux, I think it depends on what you are doing. If it's something with a lot of system interaction, then no, but in my experience only a minority of developers ever get that deep into system stuff, and many barely have a clue about

            • "No, I don't think it would be an easy question to hedge on, and I think most people would respond honestly"

              And you base this conclusion on ...?

              "Also, just because someone was recently doing primarily Windows development, doesn't mean they don't have five to ten years of UNIX before that."

              But that's my point. People in the situation you describe were both Windows developers and Unix developers, so it would be misleading to claim this is exclusively a Windows to Linux switch. It's more like a switch from
    • Interesting juxtaposition:
      In other news, 79.5% of statistics are made up. And Slashdot is comprised of 72% Windows users. ... so why should anyone believe the results put together by one of the main rabidly anti-Windows voices which casts Windows in a negative light?

      Because 72% of us use Windows?
    • why should anyone believe the results put together by one of the main rabidly anti-Windows voices which casts Windows in a negative light

      People will often believe results and arguments without carefully scrutinizing the study, if these results somehow happen to coincide or reinforce their own world view. If you question whether or not that's happening at *this* website, you haven't been reading it long enough.
  • by arpit ( 193641 )
    " Evans Data sent out a survey to about 400 developers who are either known to have some involvement in Linux development, or work for companies that are involved in Linux development."

    Shouldn't the survey have been sent out to 400 randomly chosen developers? Aren't you biasing the results already by choosing developers more likely to have some involvement with linux?
    • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:17PM (#5583973) Homepage Journal
      Because they were looking for trends and insights from the Linux developer community - and one of the questions was basically, "what platform did you come to Linux from?"
    • no and no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:40PM (#5584124) Homepage
      Shouldn't the survey have been sent out to 400 randomly chosen developers?

      No, it was a survey of Linux developers. Sending it to randomly chosen developers would be like trying to find out what women think by asking men! (Or by asking slashdot.) :)
    • This confused me as well. their sending out a poll to find out how many developers, develop for linux as apposed to windows, and they send it to known linux developers. lol. That's like sending out a poll on how many people smoke cigarettes only to people who have purchased things with camel cash.
      • No. If someone wanted to find out why people started smoking, who would they ask? Smokers!

        Similarly, if someone wants to find out needs of Linux developers and what their background is, who would they ask? Linux developers!
    • By surveying only developers who currently use Linux to any extent, the survey focuses on a percentage of the whole developer population, effectively eliminating all developers who would summarily answer "no" to all questions.

      To get statistics based on the entire developer population, one only needs to obtain the percentage of developers who use Linux to any extent and multiply all statistics against it.
      • This is a troll, right? How could anyone mod-up such an incorrect statistical manipulation?

        To get statistics based on the entire developer population, one only needs to obtain the percentage of developers who use Linux to any extent and multiply all statistics against it.

        Hmm, 97% of Catholic monks oppose war in Iraq. And they make up 0.0001% of the US population. So can we multiply those numbers to see if the US public supports the war?

        (Hint: the opinions of a sample selected by any means other tha
    • No. The purpose of the study was to find out which OS's Linux was taking market share away from in the developer space.

      They were only interested in people or companies that were known to be using Linux. This was not a study to find out what percentage of developers are using Linux.
    • "Shouldn't the survey have been sent out to 400 randomly chosen developers? "

      No. It would have been just as useful to send it out to 400 random people roaming the street. The question was about behavior patterns and backgrounds of _Linux Developers_, therefore, Linux Developers, not the world at large nor developers in general, is the population.

      However, it definitely should be random within the target population, but there is no information on data collection techniques to confirm or deny that.
    • Shouldn't the survey have been sent out to 400 randomly chosen developers? Aren't you biasing the results already by choosing developers more likely to have some involvement with linux?

      If you want to know about the opinions and behavior of Linux users, then it's important to interview Linux users. Just as it makes sense to learn about wireless development tools, attitudes, and so on by asking wireless developers. The database developer's report interviews developers who are working with databases for a si

    • Shouldn't the survey have been sent out to 400 randomly chosen developers? Aren't you biasing the results already by choosing developers more likely to have some involvement with linux?

      The claim that is being made given these survey results is that out of all developers who develop for Linux, the majority of those switched over from Windows, rather than Unix. It is not claiming that more developers on the whole are developing for Windows. It's just saying that Windows is losing more developers to Linux
  • the key point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbellis ( 142590 ) <jonathan@car[ ]e ... m ['nag' in gap]> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:08PM (#5583912) Homepage
    Nick writes,
    The 40% number does *not* mean that 40% of developers worldwide are focusing primarily on Linux, nor does Evans represent it that way. It means 40% of the [400] developers Evans surveyed, and those developers were pre-selected by their use of Linux.
    The study itself seems sound. But, is this admittedly limited study sufficient justification for the prediction [from the original linuxworld article] that "In 2004, don't be surprised when Linux overtakes Windows to become the main focus for developers?"

    In a word... no. The study only looked at developers who had already moved at least partway to linux. You are justified in drawing absolutely NO conclusions about how soon other developers may start making the same move! To do so is mere sensationalistic handwaving.

    At some level, Nick realizes this:

    Here is the question answered by the data: Among those developers who now focus primarily on Linux, which did more of them have as their primary focus beforehand -- Windows or Unix?
    Unfortunately that doesn't seem to stop him from drawing further, unwarranted conclusions.
    • Re:the key point (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Azureflare ( 645778 )
      It's possible that the reason they said this was that the developers who had partially moved over to linux, did not develop *entirely* for linux. They still developed mostly for windows. But, in the *future* they planned to develop more for linux. This can be taken to mean "More developers in the future for linux applications" = "Main focus of THESE developers = linux".

      These developers weren't only using linux. Linux was just a little dessert on the side. The developers want to make it the main course


    • In a word... no. The study only looked at developers who had already moved at least partway to linux. You are justified in drawing absolutely NO conclusions about how soon other developers may start making the same move! To do so is mere sensationalistic handwaving.


      But that's the whole point of statistics, to look at past trends and attempt to predict the future based on them. If, for instance, the data show that over the last 4 years, Linux development has gone up 15% every year, then you are somewhat
      • I kind of doubt that Linux will overtake MS anytime soon on the desktop. That said, if apps developers are bailing out of Windows, to develope server stuff on Linux, perhaps the near future may see a MS vs. everyone else world. Rather like Apple used to be.

  • by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:10PM (#5583928) Homepage
    At what level of penetration (% install base share) will Linux reach critical mass on the desktop? It's much less relevant from a server perspective since it appears that Linux already has reached critical mass on that front.

    I mean, really.

    What are the primary means of assessing Linux usage statistics, and how reliable are these methods? Also, what types of methods are used to offset each method's failings?

    Without knowing that how could us say that critical mass has been reached?
    • by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:23PM (#5584009) Homepage
      My neighborhood has a very high percentage of Linux computers. On my street fully half the machines are running Linux.

      (fine print: 12 houses on the street. Of the approximately 30 machines on the street at least 14 of them are running some brand of Linux). Well, OK, I have all 14, but that doesn't change the truth.
      • Well, it does change the truth... 14 is not "fully half of" 30.

        Your point is well made though - there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. If you don't know how the survey was made (including the questions asked), the survey population, and (possibly) some of the raw data, then the statistics coming out of it is nearly useless.

        Although I'd say the main cause of poor data here was the /. blurb. The article had issues too, but the /. summary was, well, crap.
    • I think it's impossible to measure it objectively. I purchase one copy of SuSE at each release but I install that same copy on 9 separate boxes. 3 are mine but the other 6 are for other people who asked me to manage their PCs. So trying to use SuSEs sales figure to determine my install base would make no sense. Short of random end user polls (ie. a telephone / mail survey) or data extrapolation (I guess surveys do this too), I don't know how in the heck a true installed base could be determined. If you want
    • Wow, should I be flattered or insulted that somebody copied my question [slashdot.org] word for word?

      At any rate, I still wish the question had been asked. Although Nick delved deeply into the methods use for the study cited, he said nothing about wider statistics usage and methods. That is something I would have liked to hear from him, especially the point about the various websites devoted to these things.
  • by brad-x ( 566807 ) <brad@brad-x.com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:12PM (#5583949) Homepage

    People start realizing that 'the feature/bug will be fixed when I get to it' is unacceptable for the corporate environment (in which Windows thrives), ease of use is made a priority, and the practical needs of small to midsized businesses are met by Linux.

    This weekend I was involved in the installation of a Windows 2000 AD configuration for a medium sized business at two locations in this city; their needs and their budget could have been met for thousands of dollars less had Linux been able to support an NT domain with simple graphical utilities.

    For all RedHat's work creating their new product line, not one of their efforts has even FOCUSED on the massive number of Windows 9x client workstations that simply need a Microsoft Windows domain and drive shares.

    So quit buzzwording, clustering, XMLifying everything, and create something someone NEEDS.

    • I have been in this "bind" before when a client wanted to use some biometric solutions. However I could not find any solutions, I found one company that would custom code it for about $20k, but other then that all the drivers, and support was for the windows platform. So because of this I was stuck to devloping a MS solution.
      • Unfortunately, applications which are in niche markets will be last to migrate. For applications where the absolute number of users is fairly small, the 2-3% market share of Linux translates to a potential number of users that is too small to support for a traditional commercial software company.

        There are exceptions, of course. The Film industry, for example has been opting for Linux, and as a result, a lot of traditionally "nichey" software has been ported to Linux.
    • the trouble is that most people claim they need a clustered XMLifyed dancing singing application server. when you try to find out what they really need from a business perspective and then try to offer something different than a clustered XMLifyed dancing singing application server you find your proposal in the file 13.
    • Who needs that? I certainly don't.

      But, if you do, you might want to drop a bit of the money you made on your recent job as a donation to the Samba group, or whoever else would be working on something like this. It'll pay off in the end when you can offer the same services at the same price but not have to pay software costs out of it.

      And if you don't need it enough to pay for it, I question how much you need it.
    • "Mainstream", what is that? A GUI interface for an NT domain? Insert sound of a foghorn. Did you miss this:

      7) Linux announcements from big companies...

      by L0stb0Y

      Do you see announcements from heavy hitters (like Dell, IBM, etc) helping sway more 'desktop users' to switching to Linux?

      Nick:

      This is only my opinion, not something from the report, but yes, I believe those announcements do help a lot.

      This should be obvious. If the American Medical Association started recomending Ginko Bill-o-bah tomor

  • by Jon Abbott ( 723 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:15PM (#5583963) Homepage
    Now let's imagine what it would have been like if William Shatner had done this interview...

    1) So that 40% number...
    by Anonymous Coward


    ...the one where 40% of developers are writing mainly to Linux. Where does that stat come from, and what does "developers" mean? It sounds really nice, but if it were true I as a Linux user would expect to see a lot more apps. Does it come from Sourceforge numbers? Does it come from a poll at a website; maybe a Slashdot, Kuro5hin or Newsforge poll? Is it of *all* developers, or of *paid* developers, or of developers of open-source developers or in-house developers or developers of commercial software? Does it include platform-agnostic developers (ie. Java/ perl/ ASP/ PHP/ .NET)? If so, which side does it put them on? Also, what is the error margin of the poll?

    I know a bit about statistics, and more about Linux, and something smells fishy. Linux is good, so I figure the numbers are bad.

    Shatner:

    I don't know. Oh, and get a life.
  • by realnowhereman ( 263389 ) <andyparkins.gmail@com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:17PM (#5583972)
    It means 40% of the developers Evans surveyed, and those developers were pre-selected by their use of Linux.

    The question was - is Linux taking more market share away from Unix or Windows. In what way does asking people who already use Linux answer that question?

    The correct people to ask where the Unix developers and the Windows developers. Presumably as we are talking Unix we are only interested in enterprise apps so we only ask the Windows users who work in the enterprise. Then we ask an equal quantity of both. Now we've got some statistics we can use to answer one very simple question.

    We could look at the trend over the last two years - let's go and ask all the Linux developers who only became Linux developers last year. Ask them what platform they used two years ago.

    There are plenty of questions that can be asked that would tell us something; so why did Evans waste all that effort finding out nothing?

    It sounds to me like they need to get someone who's a bit more rigorous with their statistics in future. Get a statistician in here and give them a laugh. None of these figures are either meaningful or conclusive.
    • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:09PM (#5584375) Homepage
      The question was - is Linux taking more market share away from Unix or Windows. In what way does asking people who already use Linux answer that question?

      Um... Directly?

      Who else would you ask to find out where people are moving to Linux from? In order to answer the question "where did you move to Linux from", they have to already have moved to Linux, no?

      I really can't see what your question is. You want to know if people are moving to Linux from Unix or from Windows. So you ask people who moved to Linux if they moved from Unix or Windows. Sounds pretty simple to me.

      You could ask people who curretly use Unix or Windows what they plan to do, but that's only useful for future projections, not for seeing the source of current market share shifts. You don't find out how many people are doctors by surveying high school students on their future plans, do you?

      • Who else would you ask to find out where people are moving to Linux from?

        But that's not the question. The right question isn't "Where did current Linux developers come from?", but "Where did old Windows & Unix developers go?"

        If you don't ask the latter question, you're not justified in reaching the conclusions the study claims.

        You want to know if people are moving to Linux from Unix or from Windows.

        That's not what "taking developer marketshare" means. "Share" means percentage of total, not an
      • The survey was asking people what they will be using next year. There is a point in asking students their future plans if the question is "what do you plan to do"
  • by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:26PM (#5584027)
    Some folks will likely find this [linuxsurveys.com] survey of interest.

    www.linuxsurveys.com [linuxsurveys.com]
  • What's the point? "+5, Funny" serve their purpose on the thread where questions are asked. They're a waste of space when they're actually sent to the answerer.
  • To be interviewed by a "news" site where the "editors" can't even be bothered with spelling your name correctly?
  • Microsoft reason (Score:4, Interesting)

    by termos ( 634980 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:51PM (#5584189) Homepage
    The reason Microsoft has such a large market share is because most PCs are shipped with Windows, most people don't uninstall it, and those who does are not really recorded as non-windows users. I think this is about to change, main reason is that computer vendors starts more and more to sell their machines with free operating systems, mainly to lower the price i guess. Dell at least tried with freedos, but i think Microsoft bought them back. I know still that Zepto [zepto.no] sells their laptops with Linux if you don't want Windows (norwegian webpage btw.).
  • Netscape... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Luke-Jr ( 574047 )
    The replies suggest that Netscape lost because IE was free as in beer while in fact Netscape was freeware before Internet Explorer. That almost forced Microsoft to make IE freeware and then they decided they could bundle it with Windows to kill Netscape.
    • not true.
      MS started giving away I.E while netscape was still sitting on store shelves for 20 bucks.
      IIRC Netscape had two version , Silver and Gold.
  • by Slime-dogg ( 120473 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:58PM (#5584266) Journal

    He didn't survey Windows developers, which is a problem. Yes, they don't use Linux, but they may have at one point in time. You see, the author is operating on the assumption that once you go Linux, you stay Linux. He doesn't understand that everything is just a tool for our use, and we'll choose the best tool for the job (and typically the most cost-efficient.)

    What he should have done is send 400 surveys to each of UNIX, Windows, and Linux developers to see what OS they used to run. That way, he'd be able to accurately determine if Linux is the blackhole of development platforms, or if Windows is taking market share from both UNIX and Linux

    I know that the company I work for used to run Novell and TurboLinux (I think), but now is an all Windows environment. My boss hired this Network Admin who was a MS zealot, and the first thing she did when she came in the building was take down those Linux servers. She couldn't stand them, not because of their supposed "difficulty," but mostly because she took some MS classes, and had no clue what UNIX was.

    As a result, we have developers here that had to switch from a Linux dev environment to a MS one.

    • This was a survey of software developers, not corporate IT departments.
      • The company I work for happens to do all development in-house. We have an IT department that probably codes more than some software companies. Some of our software is licensed out to other companies, with some of my co-workers providing consulting on it.

        Our business is out to make money, and selling software and services is just another way to do so, though it may not be what the company is acually based on.

        I'd say that our actual IT department is about half the size of the actual IT/development depart

    • In another post [slashdot.org] you say:

      Our business is out to make money, and selling software and services is just another way to do so, though it may not be what the company is acually based on.

      Given that you are being run by idiots that do things like this:

      My boss hired this Network Admin who was a MS zealot, and the first thing she did when she came in the building was take down those Linux servers. She couldn't stand them, not because of their supposed "difficulty," but mostly because she took some MS classes,

  • In response to question #4 he says "I don't know of any good measure of growth rates." I think market share is a good one in an established or saturated market. His claim is about market share, yet he gives NO numbers for anyones market share. If there are 100K Unix developers and 1M Windows developers and I get 20K converts from each of these segments, who lost more? Unix lost 20 percent (of it's market share), while Windows lost 2 percent (of it's market share), yet this ButtNugget thinks the 50% ratio o
    • I think market share is a good one in an established or saturated market.

      ***

      Not if market share can vary based on the products ability to handle load. "We needed 10 Windows boxes for this project, Linux handled it with 1, I guess Windows is 10 times more popular than Linux!"

      Your other points were excellent.
  • WTF ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tmark ( 230091 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:16PM (#5584424)
    Evans Data sent out a survey to about 400 developers who are either known to have some involvement in Linux development, or work for companies that are involved in Linux development.

    You mean the controversial 40% statistic means that 40% of such developers work primarily for Linux ? Isn't the flipside of this supposedly rosy story that 60% of programmers working in such companies are presumably NOT developing for Linux ? Hot damn, if this isn't a case of picking your sample to suit your theory, I don't know what is. I can just IMAGINE the vitriole that would be directed at a study reporting that, say, "a significant number of developers at companies developing applications for Windows are primarily developing for Windows."
    • by jtheory ( 626492 )
      This was a common confusion, and he addresses this right at the top, before even answering any questions. Sure, 60% of companies who do some Linux development spend more time developing on some other platform.

      btw, 'vitriol' has no 'e' (I know, I know... apologies for the offtopic correction)
  • Yeah, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:26PM (#5584509)
    I know of a magazine that quoted endlessly (years ago) that OS/2 was a dead-end operating system because it only had 2,000 native applications. Later, the same magazine published a story about how Windows NT was gaining good momentum, as evidenced by its 1,200 native applications.

    While this may seem insightful when he quotes this "magazine", it appears that it was dead-on, many "years ago." Despite the stipulated fact that OS/2 had many more applications, it was clear then that NT had the future.

    All I know is that in my shop Linux has become a good thing. It wasn't until recently. You no longer fear FUDish looks if you suggest that something could be done better, if not at least cheaper, on Linux. Linux compatibility has become a key criteria for hardware acquisition. This is from a site that had never had any form of non-Microsoft. This change is in part due to recent turn-over in IT staff. Indirectly, it has also happened because people in the IT sector are talking about Linux frequently in terms of real implementations, especially on resumes. Executives are noticing.

    For us, Linux adoption is motivated by three things in no particular order; manageability, reliability and cost. Manageability means not having to cope with immature, half baked, complex GUI only service software for email, http, filesystems, backups, periodic jobs, etc. To us, reliability means not having to put up with the random, mysterious nonsense (crashes, hangs, corruption, security holes, etc.) that we witness daily with Microsoft products that aren't nursed constantly with patches and rebuilds. Cost is a given, provided the necessary talent exists. Such talent is now criteria for hiring.

    It is also clear to me that Linux is claiming enormous mind share. Sourceforge et al wouldn't exist otherwise. I think that mind share is the key because it means the market has found something credible. I mean found in the sense of judged, as opposed to discovered. Linux has moved beyond geeks, hobbyists and isolated vertical markets. I think the credit belongs, in part, to those same geeks and hobbyists.

    I am no zealot. Linux works well for a subset of the things I'm expected to do. It is not a universal solution for all problems. Fortunately, there does appear to be room in the future IT market for multiple platforms. As long as that's the case, Linux has time to progress.
    • Re:Yeah, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

      While this may seem insightful when he quotes this "magazine", it appears that it was dead-on, many "years ago." Despite the stipulated fact that OS/2 had many more applications, it was clear then that NT had the future.

      I think the point he was trying to make is that statistics are abused. It does not matter if their end result was correct, their reasoning was terribly flawed. To me this is very insightful.

    • The magazine in question was PC World. Most MIS managers based their purchasing decisions off of what PC World recommended. Many IT managers still do. Now consider that PC World spent half a decade shouting that OS/2 was dying. It's no wonder OS/2 died. After all, Microsoft owned the PC press in the '90s.

      I remember one head-to-head comparison/review of OS/2 versus NT. OS/2 kicked NT's butt from here to the moon. The review was glowing. Then in the last paragraph it recommended the purchase of NT.
  • by zozzi ( 576178 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:28PM (#5584521)
    Some more extrapolated stats (hey the RIAA can do it so we can do it too):

    Yesterday 5 SuSe packages were sold. Since there is no additional cost to install other copies, one can say that this is equivalent to having 5/0 PCs running Linux.

    This means that Linux is installed an infinite number of times more than Windows. Wohoo!

  • It seems many people are a bit confused about what exactly all this means. I suggest you read this [linuxworld.com] and then have a read through this page [slashdot.org] and it should become a lot clearer...
  • by Kevin Burtch ( 13372 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:40PM (#5584594)
    I used to work for a very large corporation who's policy towards Linux was "don't even bring it up"... they were quite hostile against using it for servers or desktops.
    This same company, during the same timeframe (and still, now) USED Linux in some of their cell-phone products!
    Just because a company develops for Linux, does not mean they actually use it on their desktops or servers.

    Another company I've worked for is mostly Unix admins, and they are also completely against using Linux on company hardware, and _require_ that you use MS-Windows to support Unix systems!
    Anyone even vaguely familiar with Unix knows that supporting Unix systems via an MS-Windows desktop is quite a hobbling and inefficient experience.

    In both cases, it was management/politics that dictated the use of MS-Windows.
    No valid reasons were _ever_ given for these decisions, even though very strong arguements for using Linux was provided and presented.

    Don't assume just because a company develops for, or supports Unix/Linux that they allow it's use on servers or desktops.
  • My survey (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tomster ( 5075 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @03:30PM (#5585016) Homepage Journal
    The Evans survey doesn't prove Linux is taking more market share from Unix than Windows. It only proves that of *existing* Linux developers, more than 50% came from a Windows background. Which ought to be no surprise to anyone, as for every Unix developer there are about fifteen bajillion Windows developers. (Remember kids, anyone who's ever put together a VBA script is a Windows developer!)

    What I want to ask IT managers and CIO's is the following:

    My organization's usage of Linux over the past year has:
    o Increased
    o Decreased
    o Stayed about the same

    I expect my organization's usage of Linux over the next year to:
    o Increase
    o Decrease
    o Stay about the same

    In the past year, my organization has (check all that apply):
    o Moved some functionality from Windows to Linux
    o Moved some functionality from Unix to Linux
    o Moved some functionality from Linux to Windows
    o Moved some functionality from Linux to Unix
    o Created new applications on Windows
    o Created new applications on Unix (non-Linux)
    o Created new applications on Linux

    In the next year, I expect my organization to (check all that apply):
    o Move some functionality from Windows to Linux
    o Move some functionality from Unix to Linux
    o Move some functionality from Linux to Windows
    o Move some functionality from Linux to Unix
    o Create new applications on Windows
    o Create new applications on Unix (non-Linux)
    o Create new applications on Linux
  • by farrellj ( 563 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @04:23PM (#5585411) Homepage Journal
    I've worked in a wide number of jobs, and 5 years ago, Red Hat was indeed probalby the biggest player in the commercial field. But these days, I see a lot more of other distros; Suse, and Mandrake for example, and a fair number of Debian & Slackware. RH doesn't Own the market anymore.

    Developers tend to buy more Red Hat since they think that developing on RH is better because there are more RH copies out there. But the reality is that there are more simularities than differences between distros...but RH is the most different of Distros, esp. comming from a Solaris backround.

    I recently had some problems with a major database vendor that would support their product only on RH, not Slackware, but they didn't use anything unique to RH in their database. I could have stripped RH down to just a few libraries and the kernel and it would have run....and these very same libraries and kernels are the very same as Slackware runs.

    When you get down to it, well written code will run on any Linux distro having the same libraries and kernel. And I wish the various vendors of software would take the time to understand this. And not be so pig-headed about support.

    ttyl
    Farrell
    • Vendors are smart to do this. While they should support their customers using their product under a few distributions, the facts remain that:

      * a) Commercial distributinos have commercial support with terms of service

      * b) Most distributions have _different_ kernels - patched slightly differently even on the same version numbers

      * c) There are thousands of different ways to compile source libraries. Focusing on one or a few distributions allow you to know better which --with-whatever options may cau
  • If the question is "Is Linux removing more developer market share from Unix or Windows?", then starting out by surveying current Linux developers is the wrong way to go about it. (Other useful results could be obtained, of course. In particular, avoiding the vague term "developer market share" would add meaning)

    All you will learn is which platforms current Linux developers came from- a fact which doesn't contribute any information to the question of whose market share is being eaten. (Note that the stud
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